Abductions Leave Families in Distress: Uganda's Troubling Reality – The Ankole Times

Abductions Leave Families in Distress: Uganda’s Troubling Reality

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Families Share Their Anguish Over Missing Loved Ones as Human Rights Commission Closes Files

On Thursday, October 12, 2023, families gathered at the National Unity Platform (NUP) headquarters in Kamwokya, Uganda, to share their stories of despair and heartbreak caused by the disappearance of their loved ones who have been missing for the past 1 to 4 years. The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) announced the closure of files related to 18 missing individuals whose whereabouts remain unknown.

Relatives of missing NUP party supporters, including parents, wives, and other family members, tearfully recounted the challenges they have faced since their loved ones were abducted. Their stories left many in attendance, including journalists covering the event, deeply moved by the distressing narratives. The hope of reuniting with their missing relatives appeared to have hit a dead end.

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The UHRC’s decision to close these cases was met with heartbreak among the families of the 13 missing persons present at the event. The UHRC report cast doubt on the existence of some of the individuals who had been reported missing. In a 20-page summary report, the commission raised concerns about the credibility of NUP’s secretary general, Mr. Lewis Rubongoya, who failed to provide essential identification documents for the alleged missing persons. The report stated that, “Mr. Rubongoya did not provide National IDs for most of the alleged missing people, making it difficult for the commission to verify whether these ‘victims’ actually existed.”

Mr. Rubongoya expressed his disappointment with the UHRC’s handling of the missing persons’ issue and the commission’s chairperson, Ms. Mariam Wangadya. He argued that the missing people might have been abducted with their identification documents, making it unjust to close their cases. He called for the continued investigation of these cases and criticized Ms. Wangadya for suggesting that some relatives were no longer interested in the matter.

A meeting between the relatives and Ms. Wangadya had not occurred at the time of reporting. However, the UHRC’s public relations officer, Ms. Alex Bukumunhe, mentioned that the relatives were guided to record their statements at the commission’s offices in Naguru for possible further follow-up and the potential opening of new inquiry files.

Here are some testimonies from the relatives of the missing individuals:

  • Ms. Monica Nabukeera, wife of John Bosco Kibalama, whose husband went missing on June 3, 2019, expressed her frustration with the authorities and pleaded for her husband’s release.
  • Mr. Charles Kiganda, brother of John Ddamulira, shared the ordeal of searching for his brother, who was abducted on November 21, 2020.
  • Ms. Agnes Nabwire recounted how her husband, Muhammad Kanatta, was taken from their home on December 23, 2020, leaving behind a family in turmoil.
  • Ms. Mary Namuyanja spoke of her struggles after her husband, Martin Lukwago, went missing on November 23, 2020, and she emphasized her determination to find him.

The families remain desperate for answers and hope to see their loved ones again as the UHRC’s decision to close these cases leaves them in grief and frustration.

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Paul K Mugabe is a news analyst and commentator who has been gracing the pages of The East African Central Press Syndicate with his thought-provoking, and often eyebrow-raising, insights. - mugabe [at] eastafrica.ankoletimes.co.ug
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